Monday, July 25, 2011


I just wanted to let you know that we all made it safely home. Thank you for all your prayers while we have been in Romania! Due to jet leg this will be a short post, in the next few days a longer one will be added with the details of our last few days in Romania.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Not a problem, but an opportunity

The past two days have been beyond the normal. On Wednesday, we had classes again, but then went a lot smoother because we set them up differently. Instead of it being a free for all for anyone to come to either class, we split the classes up into a younger group and an older group. The first class we had was the younger group and there were about 18 kids so it was perfect to have two per computer. They were younger kids so they were still very energetic, but since we controlled the number of kids that came, they seemed to behave a lot better. Our second class, the older group, also had about 18 kids. They were very well behaved as well and we were able to move a little faster in the curriculum with them since they were older. During chapel that day, it was really cool to see that the kids were remembering what we had talked about previous days and were even asking questions about what was being said. It was definitely evident that God was in our presence and He was working on those kids' hearts.

After classes, we went back to the church in Câmpina and attended a bible study. After bible study, we decided to walk back to the house from the church because it wasn't that far. As we started walking, we realized there were very large dark clouds that were rolling in. Thankfully, we made it back just in time. We were just about to sit outside and eat dinner when the rain started coming down full force and blowing everywhere. Then the electricity went out and that caused some problems. So we quickly found some flashlights and candles and went inside the house and ate a candle lit dinner.

Today, we woke up to no electricity, still, but thankfully the storm was completely over. It was actually really nice because the storm cooled everything and it was a very beautiful day. The night before, we got a call from Brother John saying that his house and the church were pretty badly damaged by the storm. Apparently, a tornado went through parts of Sat Minier, ripping roofs completely off, tearing down power lines, and destroying trees. So we went to Sat Minier a little early today to see what we could do to help. When we got there, it was a lot worse than we had expected. The church had several broken windows, the door was broken, the roofing had come off, and the electricity everywhere in the village wasn't working. What may have been even worse was that the school that we were using to teach at this week no longer had a roof either. In fact, the school's roof had flown all over Sat Minier. So we started at the church and swept all of the class and dirt out of the inside of the church and removed some of the carpets that were soaked from the rain coming through the broken windows. We also cleaned up a lot of glass outside of the church. Brother John's giant apple tree had broken in half so we also helped him rake the leaves out of his yard and pick up a ton of apples that didn't survive the storm. With so many people helping, we that didn't take us very long so we went to the school to see how we could help. Since there was no roof on the school anymore, almost every room on the second floor was soaked so we had to move a lot of desks out to the halls so we could remove the carpets and let them dry elsewhere. The director was very thankful that we helped them and even took a picture of all of us. She said that not many people from the village were willing to help restore that school after the storm, but we helped, so she wanted to document it to show other people that we were willing to help and we don't even live there. Through the horrible storm, God opened an opportunity for us to be able to testify to the director of the school and thank her for letting us use the school for our classes.

After we finished helping at the school, we couldn't have our morning class because there was no electricity, but the electricity actually came on later in the morning so we planned to have our afternoon class. We had a little time before lunch, so we walked around the village a little bit to see if there was anybody else we could help. Alissa, Christina, and I helped an older crippled man sweep up all of the cherries and grapes that had fallen all over his front yard. He could barely walk so it would have taken him a very long time to do, so he was very thankful that we helped him. The boys found a man that had cut up a huge tree that had fallen from the storm and helped him carry all of it to a pile in his yard to use as fire wood later. The man said it would have taken him several hours to carry all that wood, so five more guys helping made it go a lot faster. It was a huge blessing to our team to be able to use the disaster the storm made to testify to other people in the village.

After lunch, we had out afternoon class and it went very smoothly. Not all of the kids showed up because they were probably still helping clean up after the storm, but those that did show up were very well behaved and we got through a lot of material. Tomorrow is our last day so we will have a ceremony for the kids.

There is a lot to be praying for as we are finishing up our time here in Romania:
-The people in the village of Sat Minier and all the other villages that got badly hit by the storm. The smaller villages usually don't get help in these kinds of situations very fast because help focuses on the bigger villages, so just pray that they could fix what they can and help each other our until more help arrives.
-The children we have been teaching. Tomorrow is our last day to present the Gospel clearly to these children, so just pray that God would soften their hearts and that they would be willing to listen to what we have to say.
-The team, as we are preparing everything to leave Romania. We have to make sure we tie up any lasts knots concerning leaving the computers here and pack everything up again. So please just pray that we would use the little time we have left wisely, spending time with friends and making sure we leave with everything in order.

Thank you for all of your prayers!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Miner Village

This week we are holding two different classes in Miner Village. Overall Monday went pretty smoothly. The children there are better behaved then the children we had last week and each class started out with a small number of children. However, by the end of the morning class we had about 20 children. The afternoon class had only 7 children. While that made for a very easy afternoon it was a little discouraging . Between classes we head over to the church where we have enjoyed wonderful meals and then are able to rest in the cool church for a little bit before we return to the school where we are holding our classes. After class we returned home, had awonderful dinner as always and once everything was cleaned up from supper our team, Ioana, and Cristina all played a very long and exciting game of Phase 10 before we called it a night.

Today things did not go as smoothly as Monday.
We arrived at the school 20 min. early and we were greeted by at least 10 children. And as time past more children continued to come. Our highest number for the morning class was 27 children, and with only 10 laptops this makes things a little harder to teach. Towards the end of the class we started turning away children who showed up, telling them to come to the afternoon class instead since there would be more room. We were able to teach the children about Microsoft Word and about how God sees all sin as equal and while there were a few boys who caused a bit of trouble the class went well.

After lunch and a short rest we headed back to the school for the afternoon class. Once again we were early and there were children already
waiting. This time there were children from the morning class as well. Because we were expecting so many children in the afternoon we did not let the children attend both classes. The afternoon class had about 20 students and while there were not as many it was a little more of a challenge for me. There were a few boys who were trouble, one eventually ended up leaving our class half way through because he did not want to do what we were asking of him. But even thought the class was interrupted a couple times due to behavior issues we were still able to teach our lessons and clearly present part of the gospel to these children.

Tonight we had the great opportunity to have dinner at the home of one of the couples from the church. After having a tour of the house and the beautiful garden we had a feast of pizza, watermelon, ice cream, and pastries. We also enjoyed some wonderful music together. We ended the time with some songs, both in Romanian and English, and prayer. It was a wonderful ending to the day.

Please continue to pray for us as we spend this last week in Romania. Here are some specifics you can be praying about.
- That we can keep up our energy, even in the heat
- That we will be able to clearly present the gospel to these children
- That the children will be open to hearing the gospel
- That we are able to show the children Christ's love

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Exploring Romania

This past week has flown by so fast! We have had a very nice week teaching in Brādāshanca. Though it was very difficult to control some of the kids sometimes, especially with the language barrier, it was very encouraging when the kids that were trying to listen and learn answered a question correctly. In chapel everyday, we would try to review what we had talked about the previous days and, for the most part, the kids were eager to tell us what we had talked about each day. It was very frustrating to keep the others who weren't behaving quiet so others could listen, but once they were under control, they would actually work and pay attention. I hope that after this past week we have planted a seed in Brādāshanca so that God may work in those kids' lives and they may one day come to accept Him into their hearts.

Through all the craziness of the classes everyday, we managed to still have some energy to go geocaching and exploring through the mountains. Sometimes on the way back from
Brādāshanca during the week, we would stop for geocaches on the way. We found one in these really cool ruins of some sort of castle. We also found one at this memorial for the first Romanian to fly. It's really cool to learn some history about Romania while searching for the geocaches too.

Friday was a lot of fun because we not only had graduation for our students, but we also got to explore a mountain! Graduation for the kids went really well. Not many parents showed up, but I think they enjoyed getting a diploma and other little gifts for completing the class. Amongst those gifts was a small version of the New Testament in Romanian, so I though that was really cool to be able to give each of them. After classes in
Brādāshanca were officially over, later that evening, what started as a walk across a nearby bridge ended up being an adventure to the top of the mountain! The mountain wasn't all that tall, but it had a nice road up most of it that we could walk up. Once we got to where the road ended, there was a slightly worn trail up the rest of the mountain so we figured since we made it that far, we might as well go all the way! It was beautiful from the top! We thought we could see all of Câmpina from the top of that hill we climbed the other day, but at the top of the mountain, you could see the village for miles! Unfortunately, by the time we got to the top, it was already starting to get dark so we couldn't spend a lot of time up there, but it was really cool just to be up that high and seeing everything below. It was even cooler walking back to the house and looking behind us to see the mountain we climbed and how big it looked. It really is amazing how big God is and how beautiful all of His creation is!

Yesterday, Saturday, was also a pretty exciting day. The whole team, Christina, Dan and a couple from South Carolina had the opportunity to drive up into the mountains a good ways and visit Dracula's Castle. It was a pretty neat castle. We got to go in it and look around at all the interesting architecture and furniture. We also got to take some time to shop for a little. People were selling all sorts of interesting things. The table cloths were very pretty and a lot of the other hand-made shirts and things were also very impressive. Once we were all done shopping, we all piled back into the van to head back. We got some sweet break for the road, which was pretty good. We had three flavors: chocolate, cinnamon, and sugar. It was an interesting kind of bread because it was kind of in the shape of a tube where it was hollow in the middle and the outside was glazed. It was very good though! On the way back from the castle, we must have stopped four or five times to get geocaches. Dr. G is definitely trying to recruit some Romanians to become just as obsessed with gocaching as he is...

Finally, today started our day of "lasts". Today was our last Sunday in Romania and our last time going to church. It was pretty special today because our team sang some songs and gave testimonies and then Dr. G preached this morning. And then in the evening, we sang some more songs and shared what we teach in our chapel sessions for our classes and then the guy from the couple from South Carolina preached. So it was very nice to be able to understand most of the service without a translator, but it was also nice to be able to worship God with Romanians, in Romanian one last time. It truly is powerful when a group of people from different places and cultures all come together to worship God in two different languages.

As we go about our last week of classes, please pray for the kids we will be encountering and teaching. Please pray that God will give us the words to teach theses kids the Gospel in a clear manor so there it little confusion. Also, please pray for our team, that we would keep high energy going into this last week and that we wouldn't take any of the time we have with the kids or the missionaries for granted, but that we would use it to glorify His name.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Losing Dr. G

Today has been a very interesting day. In the morning we had 16 children come to our class. While the class started out good there were some boys who tended to get a little rowdy at times which keep both our team and our wonderful translators on our toes. During the break the boys were playing soccer as normal; however, in the middle of the game the ball went over the fence and into the corn field behind the school. Some of the boys tried to go find it, but were unable to locate it. In the afternoon class we had a total of 18 students, however, many had already attended our morning class. It was nice to see some faces from previous years and over all the children were better behaved in the afternoon.

That brings us to this evening. Ever year our team climbs the hill near where we are staying. It is beautiful at the top of the hill which over looks the city. While some of the team had already climbed it the night before to get some pictures we decided that tonight we would climb it together Since Dr. G is into Geo Caching he wanted to hid a cache in Romania so after we climbed the hill and took some pictures we went to hid the cache. The pastor and Ioana had gone ahead at started to walk to Andrei's "garden" which was about a 20 minute walk from where we were. About 5 minutes into the walk a few of us started jogging for a little bit. Dr. G decided that he wanted to jog more then the rest of us so we pointed him into the correct direction and figured we would catch up with him at our final destination. We arrived at the "garden", which was really more of an orchard and found Pastor Ion, Ioana, and Cami but no Dr. G. They had not seen him yet. So Cristina, Drew and I decided we better try to catch up with him and let him know he had gone too far. Figuring we would find him within a minute or two we started jogging down the road. After a few minutes all we saw were a couple of cows but no Dr. G. So we keep going. It took us about 15 minutes before we finally caught up with him and told him he had gone too far. Since we had already gone so far in that direction is was quicker to take another way back so we were able to get a little tour of the city by foot. The others on the team came back with Ioana. All in all it was a fun adventure!

Monday, July 11, 2011


Today we started our second week of classes, but before I tell you about today let me back up and let you know how last week finished up.

Thursday we had all three classes. For lunch Pastor George and his wife, the pastor of the church we were in during the afternoon, invited us to eat with them. They prepared a wonderful meal for us and we enjoyed relaxing for a few minuets before it was time to start class. That night we were once again invited to Alina's, this time for dinner as well as fellowship. We had greatly enjoyed the fellowship with the youth group previously and Thursday night was no exception. We learned a game called "Bucket Ball" which was a game the youth group had made up. After playing the first game we soon caught on and the games were close. Before we knew it, it was time to head back and get some sleep for our final full day in Drăgăneşti.

Friday was our graduation day in each of the classes. We spent the first half of the class reviewing typing skills and learning either about Excel or the Internet and then we would have chapel and before we would know it it was time for the graduation. We gave each child a certificate of participation along with a CD which has games, typing programs, and the Romania Bible on it. We also gave them a couple pieces of candy. The morning class our graduation was a little more formal because we were in the school. We invited parents and some of the teachers from the school came also. We even had a special certificate for the director of the school. It is very special to be able to use the school for our classes and we wanted to thank the director for all of his help. He was very thankful for what we had taught the children and hopeful we helped open some more doors between the director and the ministry in Olt. Saying goodbye to the children after each class was a little bit of a challenge.

Friday evening we were able to take out the families who hosted us all week along with Roxana and Ada who had driven us around all week and helped in each class. It was a great time of fellowship with each other over dinner and then a walk to get ice cream and enjoy a nearby park. It is a night that I will not soon forget. We were able to try to express our thankfulness to them for all they had done for us and we also got to see how God had used our team to bless them and their ministry as well.

Saturday morning we packed up Pastor Raul's van with all of luggage and the laptops and said our final goodbyes. It was sad to leave the many friends we had made but it was time to head to Câmpina. Pastor Raul drove us to Bucharest which is about a 3 hour drive so we did not have to take a train there and then get off and catch another train to Câmpina. Once there we grabbed some lunch and ran to catch our train. Between all of our normal luggage, 11 laptops, 2 projectors, a printer, a box with paper and extension cords and a bag full of soccer balls and frisbees it was quiet the challenge to get make sure everything got onto the train. It was even a bigger challenge to make sure we got everything off once we arrived in Câmpina but we managed to get it all off in the 2 minutes we were stopped and were greeted by Cristina and Ioana who are the pastor's daughters. We arrived at their house within a few minutes to a birthday party for the oldest son of the pastor. We had a good time eating, singing, and playing volleyball with the Romanians, though once again we were not very good at volleyball. Soon it was time for a team meeting and off to bed. It had been a long day full of goodbyes, traveling, and meeting new people.

Sunday morning our team was once again split up between two different churches. Dr. G, Sarah and Matthew went with Pastor Ion to Minor Village were we will be holding classes next week, while Drew and I went to the church here in Câmpina. Church was very good as we were able to once again worship God together. The afternoon was filled with lunch, and working on the computers so that they would be ready to go on Monday as well as a quick nap. In the evening we all returned to the church in Câmpina. It was very interesting because we were not the only non Romanians there. There was a couple from South Carolina who were in Romania on business as well as another team who will be ministering in the area for the next few months. They were from all over the world. It was very special to be praising God together!

This morning we headed to
Brādāshanca where we had 2 classes, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The children there tend to be a little more active then in some of the other villages where we have been so we were prepared for the worst. We were very surprised to find that some of the boys who had given us the most trouble in the past were well behaved for the most part. The morning class went pretty smoothly and soon it was time for lunch. We are having lunch at Pastor Silvu's house this week. He is the pastor there. We have about 2.5 hours from the ending of the morning class to the start of the afternoon class so after a wonderful lunch we were able to rest for 45 minutes before heading back to the school for the afternoon class. Because the morning class was so well behaved we were a little worried that the afternoon class would be crazy, however, there was only 1 new student and 3 students from the morning class. We told them that as long as they behaved they could come to both classes and the afternoon class went even smoother then the morning.

Since coming to Câmpina it has been pretty hot during the day and this afternoon was no exception, however about halfway through the afternoon class a small storm went thought and it cooled off which made for a nice evening.

Please continue to pray for our team as we are working this week. Here are some specific things you can be praying about:
- Team unit as this is the first week that we will be with one another all of the time
- That more children will come to our class, especially in the afternoon
- That we will continue relay on God even thought we now have a better idea of how things need to be done
- For the children we will be working with this week.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

We have now been in Romania for five fully days. A lot has happened, but we have been so busy that we have not been keeping up on our blog posts. So, I will now attempt to summarize the past five days for you.

First, on Saturday, Alissa and I woke up at 9am to help out with the children's program at the church. We sang a few songs and played some games with the kids. Later, we had to prepare the computers for all of our classes, so we all met at the church and made sure all of the computers worked well. The best part of the day, in my opinion, was when we got to play soccer that night. A whole bunch of people from the church got to use this fenced-in, turf soccer field for two hours so they invited our team to go. We were the "American" team, along with two American guys from the World Race Team. The Romanians are very good at soccer so the "American" team was on a constant losing streak the whole time... But it was still a lot of fun!

On Sunday, we got up pretty early and went to church. Dr. G and Drew actually went to a different church in the morning, while Matt, Alissa and I went to the church here in Draganesti. The service was all primarily in Romanian so it was a little hard to follow, but some of the songs we sang had both Romanian and English on the slides so that was very helpful. I gave my testimony during that service and then a guy from the World Race Team gave a short sermon. That was in English so I could actually understand it. After church, we ate lunch and took naps to catch up on some much needed sleep. Then we went to the 6pm service where we sang a few songs, Drew and Matt gave their testimonies and Dr. G preached. Later that night we went to the pastor's apartment, where the boys are staying, to play Mexican Dominos with him and his family.

Monday was our first day of classes! Our first class is at a school so most of the kids are teenagers, but there are still a few young ones. The second class was at a small church near another pastor's house. There weren't that many kids there that day and they were all pretty young. The third class was at the church here, in Draganesti. There were a lot of eager children waiting to use the computers here. After a long day of classes, we were invited to go over to the missionary house, just down the street from where we were staying, to celebrate the 4th of July with the Americans from the World Race team. It was a lot of fun! We ate hot dogs, deviled eggs, potato salad, and chocolate cookies. The Romanians that came also sang "Happy Birthday" to America for us. Then we played a trivia game about American facts and then played another game called "Fish Bowl" that was similar to Catch Phrase and Charades. It was a lot of fun!

On Tuesday, we again had the same three classes. We were really starting to get the routine down and I definitely became more comfortable doing chapel for each class after giving my testimony at every class the day before. It was really cool to see how some of the students had already improved so much with their typing. At one point, I was working with a little boy and girl who were cousins. The boy was a little older and understood the typing techniques, but the girl was so young that she barely knew the alphabet. So it was really cool watching and listening to the little boy try to help her do some of the exercises, even though she didn't know much. He was getting a little frustrated with her sometimes, but he was still willing to be patient and help her. After classes and dinner, we went to Alina's house to meet some of the people from the youth group and a few more Americans. It was a lot of fun because we played volleyball for a while and just talked. We also got a chance to sing songs with them, so we sang a lot in Romanian songs and a couple in English. It was so cool listening to people sing both English and Romanian of the same song and worshiping the same God. Even though we speak different languages, we are all still connected because of our love for Christ. It was a very cool cultural experience.

Finally, today we, again, had all three classes. It has been getting progressively harder to be awake so early in the morning until late at night, but the children definitely find ways to keep us awake and alert. At the first village, where we teach our first class, the director of the school invited us to eat lunch with him. So after class, we went to another room in the school to eat with him and the other teachers. A HUGE feast was prepared for us! The table was very long and very full of food. There were several different kinds of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and even fresh, warm bread. It was very good. We then did our other two classes and ate dinner where we are staying. After dinner, we went back to Alina's house again for a bonfire with the youth group. But this time, a lot more people from the church in Draganesti came and so did the World Race team. We played volleyball for a while and I got to talk with a lot of people. The bonfire was enormous and didn't go out for a while. So we sat around the fire and talked some more and sang songs until it was very dark.

So we are definitely being kept busy, but there is also a lot of fun events and things we are doing that really helps me better understand and get a chance to experience some of the Romanian culture here.

We are almost done this week in Draganesti, so please continue to be praying for the children, the pastors, and us as we finish up our classes and other activities for the week.